Brave: (definition:) possessing or displaying courage. (Synonyms:) courageous, fearless, and gutsy.
My dad’s always told me to chase my dreams, but in order to chase my dreams, it means showing people how big my brave is. The feeling of being brave can offer a great deal of accomplishment, and it can offer rejection, too. As a recent college graduate, I’ve had both. In fact, I’d say rejection is one of everyone’s biggest fear, but it’s those that use rejection as fuel to succeed in life that go far.
I gradated college in May of 2013 as a 22-year old with a journalism major. Since then, this first summer of the real world has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve learned I’m going to get rejected. I’m not going to get every full-time job offer I apply for and I’m not going to get a phone call back every time either.
Both of these things have happened this summer, and I’ve became frustrated, worn out, and tired.
But I haven’t given up, and won’t. I haven’t lost faith, and hope because I know that I’m not in control and that it’s not my plan, but God’s. I’ve had to realize that if I keep applying for jobs, or keep working hard at my present job, things will get better.
And I’ve learned that striving for that “big boy job,” does comes with time. Let me explain…
About a month ago, I sent an e-mail to a mentor I met. He’s a national sports columnist for a magazine. He’s taken time to talk to me, given me applicable, and practical advice for a young journalist. In the e-mail I asked my mentor if he had any advice for a young journalist that was stuck, and needed some encouraging words. His advice was great. Some of it was difficult to swallow, but it made me want to chase after my dream of becoming a journalist. It’s made me want to work harder to become noticed.
In the e-mail I sent to this sports journalist, I told him I love my job. I love to get the opportunity everyday to work in the sports media field at a local television station shooting sports games, or writing sports as a freelancer. Then, I went on to say that I want be the type of journalist that isn’t afraid to put in long hours on days, nights, and weekends. I want to be persistent in my work. So, I asked him, how can I be a writer that is passionate about his craft? How can I get better and become noticed even when there are days when it seems like there is no progress being made?
— Below are his thoughts —
“Hey, Sam. No worries. And remember—you’re young and new and fresh on the scene. This stuff takes time. It did for me; it does for most…keep in mind, I’m 41, and I was in your shoes two decades ago. But I freaking applied everywhere. Literally, every newspaper, every city … everywhere. If you REALLY want it, think about doing the same. Busting butt, going all in. It’s not easy; hell, it’s frustrating. But, generally, it separates you from the rest. Those who bust butt go far. It’s fact.
I suggest blogging your butt off, stringing high school sports for local newspapers, etc … etc. Get your name, and your work, out there.
Look, Sam, GREAT writing is about setting scenes; about bringing words to life; about finding the engrossing story and telling it. Take me inside the locker room; let me smell the sweat; feel the pain. Show me, don’t tell me.
If I’m writing a story on the seniors, I’m finding crazy stories from their careers; low points; high points; suspensions; dazzling moments; whatever. I’m opening with: “She still remembers the smell. She was a freshman, young and dumb and unaware of the bowl of bleach that sat in the gymnasium closet …” Do you know what I mean, Sam? Make a commitment, at this very moment, to never write dull, cliched b.s. ever again. Take risks; take shots; read great writing and steal some devices. Break out of your cell, man.
As I reflect on my mentor’s advice, I’ve learned a lot this summer. First, I’ve learned to work hard where I am at, whether it’s at the television station or writing sports as a freelancer. These two jobs have have taught me how important it is to show people that you want to learn so future opportunities could present themselves down the road. Second, I’ve learned connections are everything. The more people I meet, and talk to, the more things I will learn. I’ve only been working in the media field for a year, and my employers have for years. Be willing to listen, and show up to work ready to work hard, and be teachable. Third, apply, apply, and apply for as many jobs as you can out of college. Make the most out of every opportunity. Life is about chasing the dream, not waiting for it. Fourth, be thankful for what you have and where you are at. Fifth, God will provide. When hasn’t he? Sixth, God’s plan will be fulfilling as long as you trust and believe it.
I’m fresh out of college, I have a few jobs in the journalism field, and I’m learning to pay the bills. I’m learning to take chances, to grow in my strengths and weaknesses and to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve faced rejection head on, but I am not going to go down without a fight.
God, my mom, my dad, my best friends (you know who you are), my mentors, and my bosses have all pushed me, and encouraged me to make me believe that I am stronger than fear, rejection, discouragement, and failure.
Lastly, I’ve learned as a 22-year old college graduate, that I’m not the best. I’ve still got a lot of work to do and a lot to learn. I’ve learned that everyday I wake up, I will wake up with a smile. I will be ready to share my passion of journalism with my colleagues and with the audience I am connecting to.
All I want to be is brave, and I’ll keep praying that God makes me brave.